Toronto Blue Jays Top-30 Prospects #20: Matt Dean

Bevan Hamilton
Apr 3, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays hat and glove lay in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays hat and glove lay in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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An afterthought in the 2011 Amateur Draft, Matt Dean has made himself into a valuable power hitter who should continue to move up the ladder, if he can refine his skills. 

Hon. Mentions Part 1    Hon. Mentions Part 2    #30: Freddy Rodriguez
#29: Evan Smith    #28: Deiferson Barreto    #27: Chad Girodo
#26: Roemon Fields    #25:  Rodrigo Orozco    #24:  Reggie Pruitt
#23: Joe Biagini    #22:  Carl Wise    #21: Tom Robson

Matt Dean was drafted as a shortstop in 2011, but he soon moved to third base and eventually landed at first where he remains now. His minor-league career started off slowly, but he has put up respectable seasons since then, which has been the reason he has risen into the top-20 conversation among Blue Jays prospects.

Name: Matt Dean
Position: 1B/3B          Age: 23
Height: 6’3”    Age: 215 lbs.
Throws: Right             Bats: Right
Acquired: Round 13, 2011 MLB Draft

The Blue Jays drafted Dean out of The Colony High School in Colony, Texas. Being that he was a high-school draft pick, Dean has moved through the ranks slowly. He spent two full seasons in rookie league before moving on to the A level and now A+ level.

Dean did have a very good year in 2015, though which could result in a promotion depending on how he performs this coming spring.

Dean led the Florida State League in home runs and was near the top for most other offensive categories, including RBI’s, hits and slugging percentage. All good signs for a first-base prospect. What aren’t good signs, however, are his high strikeout rate, difficulty taking a walk and his resulting on-base percentage.

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He struck out 139 times in 2015, which was fourth-most in the league. That’s a strikeout ratio of 26.6 per cent. To put that in perspective, Chris Davis led the majors with 208 K’s this year, which is a rate of 31 per cent. But then again, Davis posted a 14.6 walk rate (Dean had a 6.9) and a .361 OBP (Dean’s was .313.)

So positives and negatives together, Dean’s season wasn’t unusual. A power-hitting first-baseman who strikes out a lot? I’m looking at you, Adam Dunn, Chris Carter, Carlos Pena, etc. Still. Dean needs to refine his patience at the plate in 2016.

Dean has the potential for lots of raw power, which is something he’ll have to keep working on as he advances. In his MLB prospect profile, they write he “can be an above-average defender at his new position, though it puts more pressure on his bat.” If you look at guys like Edwin Encarnacion, Adrian Gonzalez and Davis, the standard is set for major-league first basemen.

The skills are there for Dean, but he’ll need to keep working hard as he moves through the organization. 2016 will be an important year for him. It will be his fifth year in the system and he’ll need to show he is continuing to improve and develop if he wants to remain in the Blue Jays near-future plans.

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